10.01.20

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It Is October Already and There Are New Normals (Some Permanent)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

October

Summary: The profound changes caused by coronavirus since one year ago (COVID-19) are generally beneficial to GNU/Linux, even if they’re anything but beneficial to the economy (and the status quo) at large

“WHEN will things be/get back to normal?”

Each and every one of us heard/read that question quite a lot back in April (if not much earlier, depending on where one lives).

A common reply was, especially as time went on, “there’s no going back to normal” or “there will be a new normal…”

Remember those who lied, arguing with unbridled optimism that there would be a vaccine by year’s end? ‘Pump and dump’ of their shares (stock)? Either way, as we’ve said all along, it can take a very long time to develop an effective vaccination programme/regimen and the substances manufactured must undergo a lot of testing before being injected into the bloodstream/circulation of billions of people. We also noted long-term effects of COVID-19 and mentioned that just because one got it and then recovered from it doesn’t imply immunity; mutation and recirculation trumps innoculation. This thing is here to stay for quite some time to come and landlords of office buildings would be foolish to wait for a resurgence. The workers aren’t coming back. Not any time soon (if ever).

“This past summer Microsoft laid off about 5,000 workers, though the media hardly paid attention to that (Microsoft worked hard to ensure people would barely notice).”In the meantime, as expected, more OEMs (even the very largest ones) offer GNU/Linux as a standard option (in the OS selector, configurator and so on). This is undoubtedly a positive development.

ESR already falls all over himself with more of his crazy theories (albeit not political but technical this time around) and sleazy ZDNet amplifies his theories not once but several times (second time a few hours ago, this time by SJVN). Expect this propaganda site of Microsoft to push that narrative wherein Microsoft sort of ‘owns’ Linux in the same sense it owns and controls GitHub. This is an attack, definitely not an embrace. They have plans. They have a nefarious strategy.

3 pumpkinsAs GNU/Linux becomes more and more mainstream expect the attacks on it to intensify (e.g. “security” FUD) and vary some more. Creative new attack vectors will be explored and we’ve covered some of them. GNU/Linux is winning in the “market share” sense (software freedom is another matter). It’s the “platform to beat” right now. COVID-19 has generally changed business models, harming some old technology companies that aren’t accustomed to the ‘new norm’. This past summer Microsoft laid off about 5,000 workers, though the media hardly paid attention to that (Microsoft worked hard to ensure people would barely notice).

When we say there’s no “back to normal” and “there’s a new normal” we also mean to say that Free software becomes a lot more prevalent, partly for economic reasons. But that in itself does not guarantee software freedom; at the moment we see many attacks on copyleft, with the goal of developing proprietary software by exploiting the work of volunteers, then using this software to spy, maim, and sometimes even kill people. When they tell us stuff like “Open Source has won” they mean to say openwashing (of proprietary programs) has “won” or GitHub (i.e. Microsoft monopoly) is taking control of the competition. This isn’t quite what Richard Stallman envisioned or how he foresaw it developing back in the early 1980s. But we’re evolving as the threats become better understood. Even Bruce Perens (who created OSI) speaks about those new threats. He quit OSI earlier this year, citing the openwashing trend which deeply concerned him. Unlike the other OSI co-founder (ESR), Perens does not need to beg for money. Perens is no crackpot. He supports neither political fascism nor technical fascism. Perens also supports Stallman, whereas ESR saw OSI as an opportunity to ‘cancel’ Stallman back in the 1990s. Halloween is coming, but ESR seems to have forgotten about the Halloween Documents (which he published). Scary times. Collective amnesia calls for recollection. Gates deposition tapes are coming back. Microsoft leaks too. Stay tuned. We have some “October Surprises”…

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